MBKS mayor: Hawkers who defy RMO could have licences revoked

Wee distributing a Notice of Compliance to food operators at Stutong Hawker Centre, Kuching today (March 18, 2020).

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By Peter Sibon and Lian Cheng

KUCHING, March 18: Starting tomorrow, hawkers under Kuching South City Commission (MBKS)’s jurisdiction who defy the Restricted Movement Order (RMO) will risked having their licences revoked.

MBKS mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng said the revocation of the said licences will be the last resort the council will take to ensure that 14-day Restricted Movement Order effective today until March 31 will be successful to contain the deadly Covid-19 which has claimed two lives in the country.

“Yes, we will start to look into all that (to revoke licences for those who defy the RMO) tomorrow. Of course, we cannot handle the situation by ourselves but would like to appeal to members of the public to cooperate. This is just for two weeks. It will only work if everybody cooperates to contain this deadly virus,” Wee told DayakDaily after distributing Notices of Compliance to hawkers at Stutong Hawker Centre here today.

Additionally, if the situation cannot be controlled, then MBKS will close all its 15 hawker centres where some 1,200 hawkers and food operators are plying their trade.

He warned that since the council has issued many notices regarding the RMO, there will be no more warnings given to them.

He related the incident at Kenyalang Park early today where there a large crowd still gathered for their breakfast.

“Let’s face it, there was a large gathering this morning at Kenyalang Park. I went to talk to them. For some, they did not realise it (the RMO), for some, they don’t know about it and even brought their kids along with them. So I told them that the RMO has already started today. That’s the reason we came up with this notice,” he said.

Wee reminded the people that takeaways were permitted but they were not allowed to sit in the food courts and hawker centres to consume their food.

“If they just want to tapau (take away) is okay but not sit in. This was what we have found out this morning where some people tapau the food and later sit down and eat. So we want to tell the operators first that this should stop,” he reiterated.

Wee disclosed that he had instructed enforcement officers from MBKS to monitor all the hawker centres starting today.

“We are doing this to curb the spread of the virus. It’s only for a period of two weeks. No one wants this to happen but let this period cool down the spread of the Covid-19 for the next two weeks,” he added.

Wee distributing a Notice of Compliance to food operators at Stutong Hawker Centre, Kuching today (March 18, 2020).

Meanwhile, it was observed that there were business operators openly defying the RMO and continuing to serve dine-in customers.

However, a food operator at Stutong Hawker Centre said, since yesterday, she had already started operating on a ‘takeaway’ basis.

“Since yesterday, I told my customers that we only offer takeaways. Those who are our regular customers such as the vegetable hawkers operating downstairs, may express dismay but then, they will still finally agree to it.

“Today, there were some customers who wanted to dine-in but once they were told that they were not allowed to stay on as dine-in customers, they were fine with it. They just order takeaways.

“Some however, upon been informed that they could not dine-in, walked off. So, we don’t know if they went to look for a place that allowed them to dine-in or they go tapau (takeaway) food somewhere else. In the process, we did lose some business,” said the operator. — DayakDaily